Round 4 Voting Closed: 2019 Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest

Feb 11, 2020
by Pinkbike Staff  

Here we go, the semi-finals of the 9th annual Pinkbike Photo of the Year Contest presented by Jenson USA are kicking into gear. With more than 287,000 votes cast, we are down to the top 4, in the running for their piece of $10,000 in CASH.

Below are the Round 3 matchups and who won each after the votes were cast. Once you see whether your favorites made it through, head on over to the voting page and cast your votes for the next round!

The winner will join John Wellburn, Toby Cowley, Sterling Lorence, Christoph Laue, Sean Lee, Steve Shannon, Robb Thompson, and Richard Baybutt in the Pinkbike Photo of the Year Hall of Fame.

Match Up 1 - Winner: Ross Bell

Ross Bell: 51.9%

Brett Rheeder during filming of Oahu segment of Anthill s Return to Earth Hawaii
Sterling Lorence: 48.1%

Match Up 2 - Winner: Toby Cowley

Toby Cowley: 53.9%

Alexey Molotov Shabanov
Vlad Bakumenko: 46.1%

Match Up 3 - JB Liautard

Ironic weather on the Canadian sunshine coast. The atmosphere is so special in those forests especially when the fog comes in and stays in the woods for the whole day.
JB Liautard: 54.6%

Steve Shannon: 45.4%

Match Up 4 - Manuel Sulzer

Shooting for 720 Protections new Awake helmet in the Dolomites with Cadini di Misurina mountain group in the background.
Manuel Sulzer: 55.7%

08.04.19. Scotty Laughland at Glyncorrwg for Mountain Biking UK. PIC Andy Lloyd
Andy Lloyd: 44.3%

What's at stake? $10,000 CASH!

Winner will receive a check for $5000
• Runner-up will receive a check for $3000
• Other semi-finalists will each receive $1000

In addition, this year we also have user prizing for voters courtesy of Jenson USA. Five lucky Pinkbike readers that vote for the Photo of the Year will win $200 Jenson USA gift cards.

Thank you Jenson USA.


How can I enter for a chance to win one of five $200 Jenson USA gift cards?

By simply voting as we progress to the eventual Photo of the Year winner, you will be entered for a chance to win. One entry per user per round goes into a random draw for the prize.


Author Info:
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Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,452 articles

  • 84 5
 Ok people, it's time to start worrying that the splash might wind up as the new roost.
  • 19 1
 It's the mountain bike equivalent of 'the money shot'.
  • 20 0
  • 21 6
 Yeah! I don't get it?! The splash is miles away from the bike and at the wrong angle?

**I Call Shenanigans!!**

Steward's inquiry please.

Although I must admit I have never ridden through or even seen a puddle (is that the word? Am I using that right?).

Ain't none of them where I'm from!
  • 19 3
 @RampageRandy: Its like they threw a rock in to a puddle as he rode by?
  • 7 4
 @RampageRandy: I don't understand it either. Doesn't seem possible for the rider to have made that splash. He is uphill and on a different path from the water
  • 16 0
 @johnmhayde: It's a berm with a puddle, rider is coming out of it.

Cool, but photographically doesn't hold a candle to Lorence's shot (which is one of the best ever in these contests, imo)
  • 4 0
 Think he's manualing out of a left hand berm. The splash is from the water that collects on the inside of the berm and he's just shralped the berm, causing the splash with his rear wheel. We can't see the berm as we're on the opposite side of it
  • 4 0
 @robwhynot: Yeah I voted for that one every time. The warm light and black shadow of the spectators among the trees on the right... the green in the foreground and the dust off the kicker, and the rider juxtaposed against the valley beyond...
  • 2 1
 Totally thought the same thing about the splash and the rider's line... It could be the lens the photographer's used, but it feels off. #puddlegate #compositeimageilluminati #aliens #destroymoretrails
  • 2 0
 Go Splash!!
  • 3 0
 Next time an OTB photo should win. OTB is an essence of Mtb Wink
  • 74 3
 I'm sad to see Bakumenko's photo eliminated! That one is just stunningly creative, well-composed, and well-executed. I love the mood - finding a creative way to ride in a post-industrial landscape.
  • 21 1
 Yeah I was surprised this one lost out.
  • 15 0
 Easily my favorite.
  • 8 0
 I agree. Well said.
  • 1 11
flag RoadStain (Feb 10, 2020 at 12:31) (Below Threshold)
 I am sure that it triggered more than one of the "woke".
  • 12 0
 Totally agree. Can’t believe this one got eliminated. My photo of the year, easily.
  • 14 1
 It really is a shame, that shot is truly great. There's too many mouth breathing MTB types that only want splash and roost pics to win.
  • 4 0
 or are voting for Trick Of The Year not necessarily Photo of the Year
  • 6 0
 coming here to say this. can´t believe it Frown
  • 10 0
 Totally agree, it’s a shot we don’t normally see, different creative, maybe some Russia phobia going on with tactical voting?!
I’ll go with Ross Bell for the win, MTB is not all stunning mountain and glorious sunshine. It’s pisswet rides in muggy weather making the most of local trails.
  • 7 0
 We use to see different combinations of forest, airs, riders, and kickers. And this was among the most unconventional shots ever.
  • 36 1
 Darn, Steve Shannon's should have won
  • 8 0
 It was my favorite too. I thought it best captured both great scenery and shredding. Lots of good choices though.
  • 7 2
  • 5 0
 Yeah, feels like that one had a bit of everything. Cool riding, cool scenery, cool photo. Can't say many others hit all 3 for me.
  • 3 0
 @gbreezy113: #SteveShannonWasRobbed lol
  • 2 0
 Agreed. This is how to do a mountain biking landscape shot.
  • 1 0
 depends on how you're voting though, obviously it's an amazing photo but JB's from a photography perspective is better.. if you're voting as a mtb rider only shannons is probably better, if you're voting for the better photo then it's JB's
  • 1 0
 From the bottom of my heart Michael Scott screams "THANK YOU!".
  • 2 0
 It's got everything: Unique composition, (relatable) action, beautiful landscape (but still rider-focused), great lighting...
  • 28 3
 two similiar shots, a national geographic and a puddle smash? cooooooooool...............
  • 9 1
 it will probably come down to the wet roost vs the ET in front of moon like shot
  • 1 0
 Sterling got robbed
  • 3 1
 They're all stunning but that Russian guy in the pipe absolutely takes the cake
  • 17 0
 The Italiano Dolomites photo is well executed with a stunning background bit it's a very, very stock photo.. Industrial one that got eliminated was very creative and technically nice. Sterlings was also a finalist in My eyes. The backlit one is the best remaining imo and a top 3 overall.
  • 6 0
 totally agree, backlit for the win. Truth is that landscape pics are on the easy side, you go to an amazing place and shoot it. Dolomites pic is stunning, and it'd still be without any rider. But for the industrial one and the backlit you need a cretivity, a photographic eye that not everybody has.
  • 3 0
 Great landscape shot. Not sure if I would call it a biking shot, whereas it's definitely a landscape with a couple of bikers
  • 2 1
 I like to judge photos by the impression they leave in my mind, not by the difficulty of execution. Thats why i'm not convinced by the backlit shot. Of course its good and technically demanding, but its a one-trick-pony. One look is enough to absorb it entirely, no reason to stay and keep looking.
  • 17 1
 I voted completely wrong for every one apparently hahah.
  • 7 1
 I also went 0 for 4 in round 3 haha
  • 11 0
 I understand there are different tastes and that maybe I'm not that proficient in photography but can anyone explain to me why Sterl got eliminated??
  • 22 1
 I’ll take a didn’t get enough votes? Just a guess...
  • 13 0
 I used 400 fake accounts to vote for the other one.
  • 3 7
flag RoadStain (Feb 10, 2020 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 EVERYONE TO THEIR SAFE SPACES!!!!!!!! I will bring some extra soap for the bubble machines...... Okay, deep breaths....sing now, sing.... I love you You love me We're a happy family With a great big hug And a kiss from me to you Won't you say you love me too Trophys for everyone.
  • 2 6
flag RoadStain (Feb 10, 2020 at 12:33) (Below Threshold)
 @CircusMaximus: I’ll take a didn’t get enough votes? Just a guess..

  • 8 1
 @rburroughs4: people like things that make them stoked to ride. Throwing a trick off a massive jump is pretty far removed from what most people on here do on a ride, so it's kind of meaningless to them
  • 4 0
 As previous years have shown, this isn't a photo contest, it's an eye candy contest... Sterling's shot is so good in so many ways.
  • 2 0
 I'll bite, I hate the way that no footed can/indian air looks - if it was just a simple table, or a whip my whole opinion of the shot would change
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Wait seriously?!
  • 10 0
 Are you F@#king kidding me. That Pipe shot is incredible... and so is Sterling's. Seems like prevailing vote is going to the more relatable pictures...
  • 1 0
 I guess people relate to the ET shot then. But it is missing the handlebar basket
  • 9 2
 Hmm, I missed the last round of voting and my favorite photo (Steve Shannon's) got eliminated. Oh well. I can't say that the winners weren't deserving as all of those are great photos.

My mind is still a bit thrown off by the splash photo though. The angle of the bike vs. the angle of the splash makes me see it as a rider riding through the forest while narrowly avoiding a mortar. I know how it came to be, but somehow that doesn't convince my immediate reaction brain.
  • 10 2
 First off, all these shots are amazing. None of them are "losers".

That being said, my absolute favorites must be a lot different than the general pb crowd because my picks always lose out!
  • 8 1
 Mine too. I'm beginning to think that a vote for the pic means you want it eliminated.
  • 2 0
  • 8 0
 soo many good shots eliminated!
  • 5 0
 I don't think putting all the same vs same in the first round was the way to go....hoping JB Liautard gets the win.
  • 3 1
 it's crazy that most of the best shots from a photography pov are all out of the running.

imo they should change the format and have the vote open to all photos and each week the top 1/2 of all the photos move on to the next round.
  • 4 0
 Looks like I have horrible taste, I voted with the minority on every. single. picture.
  • 2 0
 We all did.
  • 1 0
 The semi-final round matchup 2 should be the final of these four images, there, I said it!
The b+w was my least favourite from the original 32 and the splash shot looks faked. I don't mind the "jump" shots, but think pretty much all the others of that style were better photos, and as others have mentioned, the perspective between rider and splash looks wrong
  • 2 0
 So... are we all voting for the splash then? I feel like I’m not in on something going on here. Somebody please explain how this game works. And... Go Splash?!?
  • 4 1
 B&W still in for the win !!!!
  • 3 1
 Sad Steve Shannon is out because those river shots pull at my heart strings but damn do I love Ross's splash shot.
  • 3 3
 People have some interesting taste in pictures.. Guess it’s all about face value vs actual artistic creativity and setup. But to each their own! Good luck to the remaining four!
  • 5 2
 When you see a stunning woman, are you extra impressed if she had to spend four hours to look that good?
  • 1 0
 Steve Shannon is out? WTF guys? This shot of Alex Volokhov big mountain line was many voted photos were just reproducible at any moment..totally.
  • 2 0
 I just want to win (the gift card).
  • 1 0
 Sterling Lorence should have taken the taco. "Pancho and Lefty" will pop up somewhere else and Sterling will get to retire.
  • 1 0
 A sad day for me, Shannon and Lorence were easy favorites, but glad i don't have to agonize between the two!
  • 19 18
 i swear to god if the mountain one from Italy doesn't win
  • 3 2
 It is definitely the best one of these, in my opinion! There were others that were really good, but this is my favorite of the last 4. The B & W is overexposed.
  • 8 0
 @matthelm1: It's technically really good, but it's more of a landscape featuring mountain bikers than just mountain biking. The composition says to me that they want you to look at the mountains, and I sometimes dont' see the bikers as easily as I should. The 2 entries from Sechelt are fully focused on the bikers, and use creative framing and editing to highlight them and draw your eye in that direction.
  • 1 0
 Farwell Canyon all the way
  • 1 0
 Toby for prez
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